Following the devastating terrorist attacks in Paris more world leaders have started referring to the Islamic State (ISIS) group as “Daesh.”
The term Daesh joins others like ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria), ISIL (the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) that have been used by the media to refer to the Sunni militant group that rebranded itself last summer as the Islamic State.
While confusing to some, what goes into the name is significant given the importance ISIS places on propaganda.
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Daesh is an acronym that stands for the Arabic name of the Islamic State: Al-Dawla al-Islamiya fi al-Iraq wa al-Sham. The Islamic State has banned the use of the word in the territory it controls, and people who use it risk having their tongues cut out, according to the Associated Press
One of the reasons the term fell out of favour among ISIS militants is because, in Arabic, the word “Daesh” can be a pejorative term that can be translated to mean “a bigot who imposes his view on others” or “to trample down and crush,” the Boston Globe reported.
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Leaders including French President Francois Hollande and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry have now both started using Daesh when referring to the group.
“It is an act of war that was waged by a terrorist army, a jihadist army, by Daesh, against France,” Hollande said on Saturday. “This act of war was prepared and planned from the outside, with accomplices inside,” he added, saying France would respond to the attacks.
“This is just raw terror,” Kerry said Tuesday, vowing that the campaign against the Islamic State group will succeed. “We will end the scourge of Daesh.”